As part of Volunteers Week its vital to recognise the wide range of volunteers who support organisations in our community. Lucy who is the CEO of Ripon YMCA describes the value that volunteers bring to their work.
“We have a range of volunteers who help in both formal and informal roles. Our Trustee Board who oversee our work are a group of people who dedicate their skills, knowledge and expertise to supporting our work. We meet as a full board every few months, but also have smaller sub groups to oversee important areas of work such as finance and staffing. In recent months we have met online and their input is invaluable.
For a small charitable organisation we, alongside many others, have needed to deal with significant challenges since lockdown and the Coronavirus outbreak. Our community hall is now unused. Groups, sport sessions and clubs who used to meet at the YMCA are not able to now, and this income has stopped.
Our tenants, all between the ages of 16 and 25 are in limbo. Those who were in work, now redundant or furloughed. With limited support networks, friends and family they are really feeling the isolation of lockdown.
One of the first volunteers I spoke to following lockdown was a lovely lady from Two Ridings Community Foundation. They had released a Coronavirus Community Fund, which we quickly applied for. The funding was granted to enable us to develop welfare packs for our tenants, full of puzzles, books, treats and snacks. Also vital equipment to enable us to stay in touch with our tenants when working remotely.
Since March we have also seen our wonderful Fundraisings Volunteers continue their work. We had to cancel our annual Sleep Easy on the 28th of March, but we still had a group of volunteers who slept out in their back gardens and on floors to raise funds and awareness of homelessness.
More recently our fundraising group organised an online quiz. The event was a great success raising much needed funds for our House to Home project, which will see No4 Water Skellgate becoming habitable once more.
In these difficult times we have been supported by a wide range people in the community. People have offered meals, baked cakes, shopped for tenants, shopped for our staff, offered kindness and support. Others have donated money or provided a listening ear or an encouraging text.
But back to our Trustees. They volunteer their time and expertise to ensure that Ripon YMCA continues to develop and provide good services to those we serve. At the moment we are working through challenges and exploring opportunities, and this is only possible due to the commitment and support from our Trustees. I would like to thank all the volunteers who support us, our work and have helped us fundraise in recent years.